Sunday, September 1, 2019

Book Review of Rajia Hassib's "A Pure Heart"

LEGAL DISCLOSURE: I was given an advance reader's copy from which to write this review. I was not paid.

Rajia Hassib, A Pure Heart (Viking, 2019) 305 pages, fiction, $17.40 USD. On Amazon.

Some stories are not really about the character who seems the central one. For instance, Arthur Miller's The Crucible isn't so much about John Proctor or Abigail Williams as it is about Elizabeth Proctor. Rajia Hassib's A Pure Heart is similar. It isn't so much about Rose and her family dealing with the grief of losing Gameela to a terrorist attack as it is about Gameela. Gameela, the Pure Heart.

But what is more important than individual characters in this book is what Hassib does best: nuances.
The development and exploration of all the characters are superb. Among the subtleties addressed include differing cultures, differing belief systems, differing places, differing feelings, and differing modes of expression. She even explores how differences can exist in the same person at the same time. Hassib is a master of empathy.

Even the suicide bomber receives this treatment. His story is given in full - his is a full-fledged, complicated, and even relatable personality. If all of us were willing to look at everyone around us with similar context and empathy, violence would cease to exist.

Go read this book and make it part of who you are.

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